Israel, Marvin. Elvis Presley 1956: Photographs from Marvin Israel. New York: Abrams, 1998.

Elvis scandalized 1950s America with his hip-shaking sexuality. When the King appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, the cameras didn't show him from the waist down. Should current societal standards dictate what is acceptable on television? Or, was The Ed Sullivan Show imposing its own standards? In either case, is it censorship?

The 1980s saw the phenomenal rise of rap music, particularly popular with African Americans. Often characterized by aggressive lyrics and themes, rap has been accused of inciting violence against police, women, and society. However, to its defenders, rap music and its artists make political statements through artistic creations. Subject to much controversy and banning, the Ice-T compact disc on display has caused tremendous furor with its songs "Cop Killer" and "Bitch." Should violent or offensive lyrics be suppressed? Or, is such music protected by the First Amendment?

Dr. Dre. The Chronic. Interscope Records, 1992.

Ice-T. O. G. Original Gangster. Sire Records, 1991.


George Carlin uses humor and the ability to shock to express his views in an aggressive manner, not unlike the way in which rap artists make use of their music. You Are All Diseased, a recording of one of his shows, is stamped with a prominent label warning of "Explicit Lyrics," because of Carlin's coarse language. Is the labeling or rating of an artist's work a form of censorship or a guide for parents? Can it be both?

Carlin, George. You Are All Diseased. Atlantic, 1999.